A Canadian imam has become the victim of a viral fake news story which claimed that a Houston mosque refused to help non-Muslims during Hurricane Harvey.
The story was first published on 31 August on the satirical America’s Last Line of Defence website.
“This is a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth. We assure you that’s not the case,” it explains.
The story quotes the mosque’s imam insisting that “the Qur’an forbids Muslims from helping infidels.”
It stated that Ramashan Mosque in Houston could have sheltered over 500 people but refused to accept any non-Muslims upon orders from the imam.
A picture of a Muslim man in his thirties was used in the fake story, which went viral on social media with the headline “Texas Mosque Refuses To Help Refugees: ‘Allah Forbids Helping Infidels’“.
However, Canadian Imam Ibrahim Hindy from Toronto claimed that he was the person in the photo.
The story came as a shock to Imam Hindy who says he was performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah at the time, adding that he has never been to Texas.
On Facebook, Imam Hindy wrote: “I woke up and checked my phone and found that a bunch of people had tagged me on Twitter.
“So, just for the record: 1) I have never been to Texas and 2) I am in Makkah right now performing Hajj.”
Mainstream news outlets including CNN, ABC and Fox News have reported how mosques across Texas have opened their doors to victims of Hurricane Harvey.